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The Way to WAIS

Posted November 19th, 2008 by
Logan Mitchell, with penguin, the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch

Logan Mitchell, with penguin, the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch

Date: 11-19-2008
Location: Christchurch, NZ
Time: 11 pm
Latitude: 43° 31.87‘ S
Longitude: 172° 37.27’ E
Elevation: 75 m (246’)
Temperature: ~18°C (~60°F)

Animals: Herds of sheep seen from the plane, butterflies in botanical
Breakfast: Eggs, sausage and fresh fruit on the airplane.
Lunch: Thai food.
Supper: Rack of lamb ribs with roasted potatoes.

Today we arrived in New Zealand after a long series of flights. I began my trip from my hometown of Corvallis, OR on Nov 16, 2008. I drove up to Portland and visited my Dad for a day then on Monday, Nov 17, 2008 I got on a plane. I flew from Portland, OR to Los Angles, CA to Aukland, NZ to Christchurch, NZ. In total, I was in the air for ~16 hours. Since we crossed the international dateline, we skipped Tuesday and landed on Wednesday Nov 19, 2008. When we got off the plane in Christchurch we were met by a Raytheon employee who informed us that we would be staying in New Zealand until November 26 and not be flying immediately to McMurdo as planned because of delays at WAIS Divide.

Later we found out that the delays were caused in part because the D4 bulldozer broke down. The D4 is essential for digging the camp out so it will take a lot more time than we anticipated to prepare the camp before the science crew can arrive. In light of this we made plans to go hiking along the northern coast of New Zealand in the Able Tasman National Park. After that we went out to see the sights around Christchurch. The difference between the Fall season in the Northern Hemisphere and the Spring season in the Southern Hemisphere was very apparent. The whole day we were marveling at the wonderful weather and at all of the New Zealanders out lying in the grass and soaking up the sun. We visited the botanical gardens where there is a wide variety of vibrant roses in full bloom as well as some more tropical plants. We also visited the local museum where we learned a lot about prehistoric flora and fauna of New Zealand, indigenous hunting practices, and the history of the great Antarctic explorers. Most importantly, I got to see my first penguin! All in all it has been a wonderful day.

One Response to “The Way to WAIS”

  1. Bel Audirsch Says:

    Thank you for this undertaking. I have always dreamed of a trek to Antarctica. I’m an Environmental Science major at OSU and have been reading up on ice core samples and their great potential for providing conclusive evidence of climate change. Exciting work. Your blog will allow me to experience research in Antarctica vicariously. Be sure to include the sensory aspects of a workday on WAIS.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Bel Audirsch

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